Kia ora from the first day of term 4.

We have a very busy term ahead of us (see the curriculum overview in the Pakiki newsletter for all the details). On top of our busy classroom schedule I am writing reports at the moment which means not a lot of time after school for things like the blog. So, I put my thinking cap on and have decided to get the students to write the blog as their end of day reflections. I have created a page for each class ( you can find it on the left pane). I hope you get a chance to read what we have been up to and engage with your children with some of the big ideas we are looking at this term. The belief systems unit has already created a lot of stimulating and thoughtful discussion and is a great one to talk about at home, given everyone has a perspective to share (a little less expertise needed than quantum physics as well : ). We will discuss philosophical, religious and political belief systems over the next few weeks, so hopefully there is something for everyone.

Cheers, Scott.


Kia ora from Day 26
Today we started with a fun creative thinking warm up - think of ten alternative uses for a pumpkin. We had everything from a hat to a chamber pot : ) We followed this up with an affective domain lesson reflecting on our own stamina and focus in learning activiites. We discussed, from our own experiences, learning activities (we defined this as something we consciously try and get better at) that we are able to sustain focus at and others that we need to approach in short, sharp bursts. We listed the learning activities that corresponded to these categories for each of us. Then, we took our self-reflections on our learning styles and designed our own timetable for the day, bearing in mind what we had just considered. As the timetables were complete children were busy engaged with passion projects and game systems, with an emphasis on the former. Tobias worked on his alphabetic knowledge in Russian and tuned his passion project plan; Annelise also worked on planning and came up with a final step to round up her dissection work, her challenge is to bring the stamina and focus needed to finish this project off; Marshall created a final version of his Ancient Sparta - Modern New Zealand comparison and showed just how fast he could write clearly - way to go setting and reaching goals Marshall. Michael began writing a letter to convince nintendo to create the lego Indiana Jones game he is designing. So far he has scene one thought through and has ideas to put together scene 2 next week; Tane worked on his robot dance; Paxton brainstormed ideas for a new passion project and is interested in inventions for children; Solomon finished his Julius Caesar timeline. HIs next step is to go into depth in one area of Julius' life then he wants to make a small video documentary; Paris began transferring her and Max's space information onto keynote and Adam found out about why castles were no longer made and what held the stone together. He wants to find out whether things were ever really put into the moats as well. Meaghan finished writing her protactinium rap and created the garageband loop for it - well done Meaghan, we look forward to the final product.
After morning tea we continued on with our own timetable until John came for chess. Chess focussed on reflecting on Annelises' experiences of teaching the buddies last week. John talked about making sure beginners understood the objective of the game, checkmate and check and then learn how all the pieces move. We played chess till lunch, then we moved into Quantum and looked at the "spooky action at a distance" of entanglement. We watched a video clip, took notes and had a discussion then chose our own ways to represent the key idea. We had some cool stykz from Paxton, Marshall and MIchael. Tobias worked on a scratch - well done because he is learning to use the program as he goes, Meaghan, Sophie and Vinnie created and filmed a short drama; Paris, Lily and Adam made a poster and Tane created an entanglement boardgame. I challenge the students to teach parents who haven't heard of entanglement what it is basically about.
Cheers for a fun days learning team, see you all next week. Oh and well done Paxton and Annelise for being selected for the George St. speech finals!Ciao, Scott.
Hello from buddy day

We had a blast today playing Pakiki with our buddies. It was great to see so many kids involved and to continue to establish links between Pakiki and the 'homeschool'. The buddies were great participants and the day was a real success. I hope the kids had as much learning fun as I did. We focussed most of our day around our board game systems topic and did a lot of creative thinking. Here's some shots.

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Pakiki kids and buddies set to modifying cluedo to give it a N.Z theme
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Liam and Thomas include Tui in their creative thinking


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Marshall, Thomas, Spencer and Vinnie create a new computer game character
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Ethan and Ben show off their character


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L.A.C.E brainstorm time
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Team Frindle get ready for the parade during tech challenge


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...and on the march
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Thomas flexes his Superman muscles


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Ho! Ho! Ho!
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Lee or Maui the trickster?


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All hail King Tut
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Greek Warrior with followers


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Cleopatra with her entourage
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Can you guess the Star Wars robot?

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Testing board game prototypes
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Kathy and Tobias give it a whirl


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Cassie and Tane play 007
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Halloween with dice, Gabi and Annelise


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Meaghan tests out her acting board game with buddies






Howdy from Day 24

Today we had choices how to use our morning. We had an hour and 3/4 to invest between our game design and our talent time. Most of us spent more time on our games. Solomon and Paris noted in their reflections of the morning that they had taken a responsible risk in making their time investment this way because they risked not finishing their passion projects in time. I liked that kind of reflective thinking. The games are coming along nicely. I invested some quality time with Vinnie and he has a good concept for a maths game that has appeal to his target audience of 7-8 year old boys. Tobias and Paxton made excellent progress on their space game prototype, as did Paris and Sophie - they now have to write the questions that allow a player to proceed on their journey back to Earth. Solomon and MIchael's rugby game has taken shape and Lily made a new and improved version of her game board. Annelise has created a cool Halloween game which is quickly taking shape - it is called Haunting Halloween and she has a board, dice and tokens made. Her next step is to finishing making the game cards which have questions on them and hidden answers and extra for experts. The questions are going to be about the history of Halloween. Tane has made a James Bond game. He has completed his prototype in very quick time and it has had some initial successful testing. Ben has also tested his game cuffs - a kind of science fiction cleudo. Some of the children did work on their passion projects. Marshall is publishing his venn diagram comparing Ancient Spartan social life to our own; Meaghan has her protactinium song almost complete and ready to publish. We ended the morning session writing reflections and then hearing Tobias play a recital of his composition - "Jazz Jingle" which was a creation from his previous passion project. Here's a photo:

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Tobias' Jazz Jingle recital




After play we turned to nadpodbudliwosc and Dabrowski's theory of positive disintegration. Today we looked at the kinds of things we do that empower our learning. We ended up spending a lot of time talling about choices - what time and space is most conducive to our learning and how we choose between needs and wants when we are tempted away from learning activities. I found this discussion very interesting and it was pleasing that most of the students were able to contribute some ideas and experiences. Here is a photo of our discussion ideas.

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Ways we aid our own learning

After our discussion John arrived and taught us about zugzwang - where the only move a player has open to him/her will worsen her/his position.
After lunch we re-did our light wave double slit experiment. This time we used a piece of glass that we blackened a section of with a candle. Then we scrapped a series of double slits in the blackened area and shot the laser through the slits. We got a much better range of interference patterns than our previous efforts. The students wrote up the experiment on the computers then we finished the day with a chapter of Frindle. Here's some shots of the science - sorry about the quality - it was dark : )
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Liam and Paxton set up the equipment
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Our interference pattern



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Liam through the blackened glass





Kia ora Day 23

Hi all, it was nice to be back after a week away with illness. Sadly, it seems a few others have come down with it too - we had 5 away today! We started by working on the exploding nails creativity task the students had worked on the week before. There were some great ideas and the students had a real sense of the tone of an advertisement - Tobias and Paxton had exploding nails to power becalmed sail boats; Annelise was sailing "Mr. Confetti" exploding nails for parties, Adam had fireworks, Solomon's were for military purposes, Paris, Sophie and Max had musical nails available for kindergartens to encourage childrens hand-eye and musical skills at the same time. Several students wrote jingles to help sell their products.
We moved into game design. Today was about brainstorming a context/theme. The idea was to come up with as many ideas as you could reserving judgment till later. Then you could use the ideas you had created to help shape different parts of your game. Most of the students seem to be aiming for games that have a combination of chance and knowledge with wide ranging topics - working titles for some of the games so far include Rescue on Horseback, Escape from the Titanic, A Journey Through Space, and a Ghost game. The motivation and creativity is high in this task. We are hoping to get some prototypes ready for testing on buddies during buddy week. Then we will refine and create finished products for parents to play on sharing night. Great start to the design process Tuesday.
After morning tea we started to work on Dabrowski. We had a quick revision session on intensities and discussed how self-reflection can help us identify the way these intensities can hinder or aid our learning processes. We got Tobias to lie on a large sheet of paper and drew around him, then we started to fill in internal and external obstacles that come from our intensities. It was interesting to note that, for Tuesday's group, it was much easier to identify internal obstacles rather than external ones. Good self-reflecting team.
John's chess lesson rounded out the mid-morning session. Today we looked at another aspect of end game - King vs king and pawn. From one perspective this was about working out if one could get a pawn to the end to be queened and, from the other, how we might work to getting a stalemate or draw. Michael's chess game showed excellent progress today as he took on Tobias and almost beat him. Well done Tobias for extracting a stalemate when all seemed lost.
After lunch we read some Frindle and then looked at some more physics. Today we looked at how waves interfere with each other and create what is called an interference pattern. Then we used some laser pens and a double slit to test whether light behaved as a wave or as a particle. We got an interference patten - suggesting light was indeed a wave. But when we reflected on Dr. Scharpf's visit and on what we learnt about Einstein we remembered that it was said light was a particle - a photon. How could it be that light acted as a wave but was a particle. We watched a short video - "Dr. Quantum", on YouTube.This animation discussed the strange phenomenon of light and its dual behaviour as both a particle and a wave. When electrons were observed travelling through a slit in a double slit experiment single electrons behaved as a particle but when the slit was no longer observed the single electrons produced an intereference pattern suggesting a wave. HOw does a single piece of matter - an electron interfere with itself and produce a wave pattern? Further, why does its behaviour change if a measuring device is put in place to observe the electron as it travels through the slit? These questions are one's that quantum physics plays with. Liam had the thoughtful insight that the energy from the observation device (i.e the light that it uses to see) could be causing the change in the electrons behaviour. Great thinking Liam - I had read about this and discussed it with Dr. Scharpf as well. I was impressed that Liam came to the idea independently. Now I am wondering, if this is true, does this mean that we need to think of an electron differently? An electron is something we think is a particle (I think from memory it is a lepton - an elementary particle - i.e. a particle that can't be reduced into smaller parts). But if it only acts as a particle when it is under observation because the act of observing it introduces a new influence (as Liam was hypothesising) then what is it before this influence? And if before the influence it is anything other than a particle does that challenge the idea that it is elementary? That's what I love about Pakiki - you get to do so much thinking. Thanks Liam for keeping me wondering. As one of the parents said, being a teacher at Pakiki is a great education...for the teacher - now that is real pedagogy!
Ka kite team,stay dry and I'll see you all next week.

Kia ora - day 21
We started with creative thinking this morning. We aimed for fluency in response to a choice of "what if's". Tuesday came up with some very humourous ideas - especially responding to 'what if you had an ey on the end of your finger'. They averaged over 4 ideas a person in 6 minutes of thinking and recording their ideas. Let's see if you can beat Wednesday like you did last week : ) After our brain warm up we looked briefly over our 'must haves' for term 3 and then invested half an hour analysing another game. We have a few new games at Pakiki, thanks to Susan and the trust - cheers! Next week the students will start compiling what they like about a game and begin designing their own. We rounded out the morning session with passion/talent development. Marshall has found some interesting comparisons between the Spartans and today - I like that he is also noticing similarities amongst all the obvious differences - keep thinking deeply Marshall. Tane has shown excellent motivation and persistence with his robot programming and is already creating music for his robo-dance. Tobias battled technology to notate his song which is finished in all other ways (he seems to play it with ease now). Annelise fine-tuned her plan and began learning how to use keynote by compiling a critical review of the frog dissection app on the ipads. Vinnie was challenged to travel beyond Australia in his maths/travel project, Meaghan gathered some excellent ideas about her element and made good progress on her song; Solomon got stuck finding out about Caesar and his army. Paxton had a similar research challenge but found a good way through it and then shared his new found skill with Solomon - great work! Paxton, by the way, was finding out about origins of language (he really got some traction when he swapped the word origin for start or began). Liam began creating a diagram of how a radio works on the computer, Ben made solid progress using Lego digital designer to create a lego Whitehouse.
After morning tea we took our next look at Dabrowski. We reviewed reflection and the idea of internal and external factors that inhibit and help your learning. Then we focussed on internal factors and the students answered questions individually that tried to get them to reflect on their own internal learning features. I was really impressed with how reflective Tuesday can be - this is excellent progress in an area that has typically been difficult for many of our younger Pakiki students. John gave a chess lesson trying to highlight the importance of being vigilant when moving pieces. Many of the students got a little restless (possibly an indicator of why their vigilance still needs work : ) but Meaghan battled John until the end and played out a strong game. Well done.
After lunch we read a little Frindle. Then we conducted an experiment to see how localised classical particles behave in a double slit experiment. The students predicted what they would see. We conducted the experiment and then they recorded results and wrote a generalised statement about classical particles. This went well. We finished by watching a short video clip of someone conducting the same experiment on a grand scale and there were hints at what might happen in the quantum world. If the kids are keen please let them explore the differences but I didn't tell them outright as we have an experiment that hopefully will illustrate it. Key language for the students to try and remember - what difference is meant when we talk about the classical as opposed to the quantum world, and what is a localised particle. Cheers.
A fun days learning and some great thinking - well done Tuesday!Scott.Kia ora from day 20.
Today started with an interesting discussion from Dr. Scharpf on the role of science as a predictor of the future. In his talk Dr. Scharpf discussed the idea of hypotheses, why it is exciting when your hypothesis fails, historical shifts in science's understanding of speed and light that lead to ideas about relativity and quantum theory that arrived in the early 20th century. The students listened well for the most part and showed they had remembered some of the ideas we had looked at the week before which was good to hear. Following this we had a quick creative thinking warm up focussing on elaboration. Today we asked "what if mosquitos were as big as cats". The challenge was to take one idea from this and try and build on that idea as much as possible. We scored our ability to elaborate by averaging the total 'chain of ideas' we achieved as a class. We then continued our science theme and watched a short clip on the potential of time travel and research around muons (cosmic rays with an extremely short life span). Liam made some very astute statements around this - great thinking and listening Liam. We then set about wondering what science might predict that could improve the world. The aim here was imagination and providing an argument why your idea is an improvement. It was great to see Sophie, Meaghan and Vinnie come up with creative and interesting ideas quickly. Well done. Talent time came next with an emphasis on reflecting on progress on a daily basis. We have a lot of projects on the go at the moment. Liam started planning a project to figure out how radios work. He found a great old book on how things work and he is going to use this to look at traffic lights as well (when the computers are unavailable to find out about radios : ) Meaghan decided to write a poem/lyrics to present her ideas on her element - she problem solved the need to have a set number of syllables per line to improve the rhythm of her writing. Marshall, Max and Paris all adjusted some of their questions to suit the research they had done today. The challenge was to ensure they were rewriting questions in a way that sought depth and complexity. Marshall started comparing Spartan life with today - a good example of comparing across time, as was Max and Paris' interest in what people in past conceived of the made of the Transit of Venus. Tobias structured the parts to his song and our next step is to pick a date for performance! Vinnie has been calculating his way around the world - today he worked out the cost to stay in four different countries. Tane started programming his robot dance on mindstorm, Paxton made a comic strip to find a humourous take on how language might have started, Adam looked into the architecture of castles, Ben labelled his Whitehouse sketch to show some of the different architectural elements, Sophie looked into the history of origami and discovered it started in China not Japan. Well done team - and some very good reflections at the end - and thanks again to Tor for braving talent development time : )
This led nicely into our Dabrowski discussion which unpacked a little of his Theory of Positive disintegration. The part we looked at today examined what it means to be reflective and how examining what internal and external factors assist and constrain our learning. This is an area that is worth some careful exploration, in my opinion. The benefits of being a reflective learner are well documented, however, I have found for many younger children find it does not come naturally so working at it from a young age can only help our students' learning success. Nice work seeing the links between this and our Habits of Mind, Paxton. Chess today was also about reflection (pure coincidence : ). John showed us some notation that we can use when we reflect on our game to indicate if a move was interesting, excellent, a blunder etc. Students seem to be getting to terms with notation. Tane, Annelise and Paxton (the students I was mostly observing today) all did a fine job of notating during the chess session.
In the afternoon session we had a go at playing and analysing games. The students have a sheet to guide their analysis. Pit Bull sounded just like we were in a stock exchange - poor Glenn who was right in amongst the action - thanks for your help Glenn. There was some good analysis done today - remember kids - give reasons/evidence/examples etc. Make Mr. K happy and show you can transfer the critical thinking learning from the previous term into a new context : )
Cheers team,see you all next week,Scott.




Kia ora from the start of term 3! (Day 19)
Welcome back all. This term is all about creative thinking, board games, quantum mechanics, Dabrowski and his ideas about what excites us and, of course, talent and passion projects. This morning we started with a fun creative exercise that involved using our powers of perception to create something out of random shapes and lines. The students came up with some great ideas and as we shared our work we rated the originality of our ideas by giving a point to every idea that only one person had. We got an originality score of 9. Of course there were some great ideas that more than one person came up with because great minds think alike : ) We did some stock taking after this - because we had open day in the last week we never fully got an opportunity to collate all our term's products etc. So, I had made a list up during the holidays while writing mid-year assessments and for a while we set about checking off our list. Everybody set about this task with gusto - well done Tuesday!
Dabrowski followed - I gave the students a brief outline of his ideas around Napodbudliwosc (vaguely translated as intensities or over-excitabilities) and the students worked on some Gifted Kids profiling to help them identify which areas their intensities were greatest. Many of us unpacked these together as there was some quite 'intense' language for some of us. I found this an interesting exercise, noticing some self-awareness that matched how I perceived some individuals. I look forward to going through the rest of the profiles in the near future.
We managed to squeeze some talent time in - I was able to help lay out plans for Sophie (origami), Paxton (language) and Tane (robotics), as well as introduce digital storytelling and a fun world travel maths project to some students who were still thinking about how next to develop their talents. John arrived for chess and taught us notation. The students spent some time then working on their chess game and notating their moves as they went. John hopes notation will help slow their play down so they are more aware of threats from the opposition, as well as giving them a chance to analyse their games later. Liam, being the creative mind he is, started developing his own notation system : ) While I love the creativity I tried to explain to him the need for the language to be one that others shared. He seemed in good spirits about it all - nice one Liam!
After lunch we started our quantum physics study. We began with Einstein who, while not a fan of quantum mechanics himself, provided some key ideas that have influenced modern physics greatly. Today we did some shared reading about Einstein, his equation showing the equivalence of energy and mass (E=MC2) and the related idea of special relativity. I am no physicist and much of what I have been reading and studying for this unit is as much magical as understandable, for me - maybe that is why I find it so exciting. Anyway, despite not understanding it on any deeply mathematical level as I am sure it is supposed to be, I think it is important enough that our children ought to be introduced to some of the key concepts, which is the aim of this unit. My personal aim is to do that without delivering any major misconceptions : ) Luckily, there is quite a bit of simplified information out there for us to work with. Today, after we read about Einstein, we tried to check out the speed of light (which Einstein told us was a constant) by melting chocolate in a microwave. This experiment requires knowing the frequency the microwaves travel at in the particular microwave (ours was 2450 megahertz) and measuring the space between the melt points that your chocolate displays ( you first have to stop the plate in the microwave from turning to ensure that the waves pass through the same places each time). The space between the meltpoints gives you half of a microwave's length. You then multiply the megahertz by the space measured x 2 (x 2 so you get the full length of a single wave). The result ought to be the speed of light -i.e. the speed a microwave, which is a form of light, travels at. We were just out ( a mere 18 million m/sec with one measurement : ) We figured our measuring of the exact middle point of the melting points was probably not entirely accurate. Good take home messages to reinforce with the kids, if you get the chance to have a talk, are what the letters in E=MC2 stand for (energy = mass x speed of light (in a vacuum) squared - C is the speed of light - it's given C because of Einstein's discovery that it is constant); the riddle that Einstein worked on (for 10 years!) to come up with this idea - (prompts for the kids might include superman, speed of light, mirror : ); and that the speed of light is about 300 million m/sec. I am sure some of our students will want the exact speed (which we did put up today ...299 792 458 m / s). That wouldn't be a typical afternoon's learning for a group of 7-8 year olds, don't you think? I hope they had fun - I know they liked the chocolate after physics was over - that much was typical : )
Cheers team - was great to see you all again after our break,Scott.


Kia ora from Day 17Today started with an auction for the plots of land in econ island. This sets us up to play the game proper, which we started in the afternoon. The aim is to build a thriving economy and aim for the highest standard of living possible. There is a formula for working out the standard of living and, naturally, deaths in the community cost the island. Sadly we had one death today, Marshall (who wasn't quite boisterous enough to make his mark on the market) but we voted for a "you can't go out first ball" approach and resurrected our character with this assets to help get things underway. No such dispensations next week (can anyone say "nepotism" ; ) Anyway it was a load of fun. We preceded the afternoon lesson with an unpacking of the rule son the big screen which gave us a nice opportunity to reinforce our language and conceptual understanding - well done Lily who I felt was most accurate with her contributions during this discussion. While there are still gaps it is noticeable that many of our Tuesday crew are gathering understanding. Keep focussed and watch out for economic activity at home - any incentives? What's in demand?
Between the econ island at each end of the day we worked on finishing must haves and exploring can do's. At the moment the can do's are mostly economic in nature - well done Paxton who has hypothesised a rich list of nations and will check this against some informed sources on the net soon; also well done Sophie who has started developing some arguments for why the command economy is the best. Many others finished writing critical reviews, talent/passion time reviews, new research plans, and worked on talent or passion time projects. Thanks to all those who managed the melee of finishing work with self-management, problem solving and persistence.
See you all next week for the open day.Scott.


Kia ora,

This morning we had a pleasant surprise checking our shares as most of us had made gains. Several students decided to buy new shares and as it became apparent they had forgotten what Gordon had taught us at Forsyth Barr we had an impromptu lesson on how we go about that. I made up a word document with a table, so everyone could see it on the big television, than the students decided in their pairs if they wanted to sell some of their shares and what they were hoping to buy. We then put up the list of potential buyers and sellers and a few trades were made. The idea was really to remind them that (typically) they couldn’t simply buy more shares until they found someone who wanted to sell some. Hopefully the idea is a little more cemented for them - feel free to get them to explain how it works to you - that will help!

After this we went into a mixed part of the day with some students working on talent time projects while others published Granny O’Grimm reviews. I worked initially with a group of students who were planning new passion projects - Marshall wrote research questions using our Depth and Complexity icons on his topic - Ancient Sparta (plenty of room for some ethical thinking there!); Solomon is considering a documentary on the life of Julius Caesar; MIchael is researching the invention of the gaming machine (there were games before Wii Michael - who can forget Space Invaders!); Max is putting together a study on space - his challenge is to go beyond the normal fact finding mission so we will need a careful construction of his questions; Tane is working on programming a Mindstorm robot. Other talent time activities today included Vinnie creating a pictorial history of Phi (the last part of his Fibonacci study).

After play we looked at the next step in our discussion of Gagne’s view of giftedness - that gifts are natural but for gifts to become talents they need to be developed through ‘systematic practice’. Some of the students ideas put forward ideas which showed some excellent development in their critical thinking - Marshall made comparisons between Gagne and Renzulli’s points of views; Tobias kept his line of argument consistent from last week; and many of the students were happy to challenge the ideas they were hearing. Here are some notes from todays discussion:

Michael unpacks this part of Gagne as saying you can be gifted without being talented but you can’t be talented unless you were first gifted. Solomon unpacks this further to say you have to train to be talented but you are just given ‘giftedness’.Tobias wondered what if everyone got good what would happen or as Paxton asks if everyone got worse. Marshall says what counts as the top 10% would change; Marshall is unsure if he agrees with Gagne’s point because Renzulli says you weren’t born with giftedness and Marshall thinks one of them has to be right. Lily says you could agree with either theorist but choose a different one depending on individual cases. Paxton says there could be a different alternative to either Renzulli or Gagne and Ben says they both could be wrong; Max says they could be both right in a way. Lily wonders do you stay in the top 10% once you are in? Tobias adds who is in the top 10 might change depending on how much someone practices.Paris, Annelise, Meaghan and Max disagree because they think there are lots of people who are talented but not gifted; Annelise says there are lots of talented classmates but she is the only one at Pakiki. Max feels the same way as Annelise. Paxton thought about push ups and thought what if you were training at something but you didn’t know how to do it at all in the first place...so he agrees with Gagne, that you need a gift to nurture in the first place. Solomon disagrees with this - he says almost everyone would know just by watching but their ability might not allow them to do it. Adam gives the e.g. of a kid who is talented at high jump - Adam thinks talents are to do with sports and gifts are to do with academic work but he’s not sure why. Tobias was in the top 10% of world for mathletics and he thinks this is a talent rather than a gift, because of the work he put in. We notice that both Renzulli and Gange can agree with this position. Most of us think Gagne is wrong; training is what is necessary and a gift is unnecessary. Paxton wonders if you could train to be gifted as well as talented.

John came in to teach us how to play a scaled down chess game with only pawns. This is the game the Russian chess system uses to teach children. In other chess news Tobias had a couple of noteworthy victories today - one over ME : ( and one over Glenn, Ben’s dad who had to face a long, sad drive back to Clutha Valley as a result. Well done Tobias.

After lunch we had our last run at econ island before next week’s land grab auction and the consequent simulation proper - when mistakes can’t be undone : ) Today introduced stone as a commodity. Perhaps in response to last week’s over-harvesting we had too little harvesting today resulting in only tow survivors past the first round - Lily and Max. Ben and Solomon won the best account of the day’s trading with highly commended to Tobias, Marshall and Sophie. Annelise wrote an excellent piece as well, probably a winning entry if it had been in a little earlier - fantastic writing improvement - she joins Sophie as biggest writing improvers at Pakiki so far this year.

Cheers team,
see you next week, Scott.



Kia ora from day 16,
Today we quickly updated our shares - the students are now very efficient at checking their portfolios. We are expecting a big downturn in our earnings after the news from the U.S and Australian markets. Our affective domain focused again on concepts of giftedness - today we looked at Gagne, another well known academic who theorises on the subject. Today we investigated his claim that only the top 10% of any age-peer group can be considered gifted. This drew almost universal disapproval,: ) Here are the notes:
Ben and Vinnie think it is unfair to say that only the top 10% can be gifted because if someone works really hard on something and still only be in the 90% even though they are really good at it, also if you are older when you discover the gift you might miss out because there is no Pakiki for you. Tobias says if someone is really good at something they should still count as gifted even if they are not in the 10% e.g. there could be something that everyone is good at, i.e. there could be way more than 10% gifted at one thing. Lily thinks that is unfair as well because someone might want to be gifted and always try but not ever make the top 10%. Mr K wonders if wanting to be gifted means one is or can become gifted. Solomon says it is unfair to have only 10% because he thinks someone who works really hard should also count as being gifted - and the top 10% is too small an amount. Mr K wonders if being a hard worker counts as a gift - can you be in the top 10% of hard workers for your age group. Marshall, Max and Paris think if it is only top 10 it would be unfair - they say since we are at Pakiki it is unfair to some people who aren’t - e.g. what about the people who are at 89%. Mr. K adds it is tricky where we make the identification call and who makes the call that 10% is the magic figure? Also if we thought this was just something we noticed at school people like Edison and Einstein wouldn’t have been thought of as gifted because they didn’t show their gifts at school. Adam says it is unfair because there are only some gifts that are recognised for e.g. Pakiki kids - athletics didn’t count. Michael says if you are in the top 10% and your other friends are just below they will be jealous! Meaghan says its not fair because some people might be really good because sometimes maybe the wrong people get chosen. Tobias says imagine if we only had one pakiki class then people would miss out. Marshall adds the 10% might be unfair because it is limited by the number of gifted schools to give students the opportunity.
After this we set about talent time. Hurray for Tor, who was there to help again! Tobias has started notating his song. He interspersed, what I am guessing was notation boredom, with some free jazz interludes : ) (notation can't be as much fun as creating can it? - it'll be good to have the notes written though Tobias). The scientists reflected on their talent time, as did the mathematicians - metacognition day : ) Vinnie worked on remembering and showing how you get phi - remember Vinnie, divide the larger fibonacci number by its smaller predecessor! The Shakespearians videoed their play with Marshall as videographer on our flip video. Adam and I negotiated a contract for his passion project. He has become interested in flight through a study at school and is going to extend this by testing different wing designs. Ben is interested in building a white house. We planned an architecture investigation. He started by sketching it today. He was a little reluctant arguing he wasn't that good at art. I was surprised - sometimes I wonder where kids get these ideas from, Ben stood out as a very good artist last year at Pakiki and in our "value portrait" art at the start of the year. Anyway, I convinced him and he has done a good first sketch. He has discovered he can use the computer to zoom in on parts of the white house in his picture. This lets him sketch closeups to help label and learn the language of the white house's particular architecture. Then he is going to design a digital model. Finally, he wants to build and paint a wooden model with his dad (go Glenn : ) . What a great project for a seven year old boy - he can analyse a building, learn some architectural language, get computer skills in modelling (the same skill they were doing at our Wednesday animation research ltd. visit), and make something with Dad.
In chess today John taught us about sacrificing moves that let you gain some advantage. Tobias took my queen!! Solomon improved dramatically to beat Michael in their rematch and Marshall defeated Tane after several weeks of trying.
After lunch we read a chapter of frindle called chess - the principal was imagined as the black queen in a chess match that our protagonist, NIck, was part of against MIss Granger. Then we engaged in our first attempt at the Econ island game board. This was a little different to what we were used to and took a couple of attempts to get going smoothly. Now we are trying to manage our own island the incentives are not about making money but, initally at least, about survival. Today we learnt the harsh lesson of how we use our resources. Hurray for Sophie who made sure she had more crops to harvest. Well done Paxton for a quick and efficient negotiating and acquiring of your needs and congratulations Tobias for winning the vote as best player (as voted by the players who had perished : )
I look forward to next week crew!Cheers, Scott.
Kia ora koutou - day 15
Today we started with a quick check of our shares. Then we used our Kaplan's tools and our questioning skills to construct some questions for the morning visit to the Forsyth Barr offices. We were treated to a board room meeting on the ninth floor with Gordon Tucker, a financial advisor with the firm. He provided an informative and interesting discussion to a captive audience for an hour - who said 8 year olds weren't interested in financial literacy! The students provided some engaging and thoughtful questions and when the odd question seemed a little quirky, Gordon typical found a way to segue it neatly into vital information about the topic. A rewarding visit, in my opinion - thanks to Gordon.
After our visit the kids had morning tea and a much needed run around then it was down to writing - another session (albeit abbreviated) at our Granny O'Grimm critical review. I had carefully marked each student's writing thus far and everyone had clear instructions in their books of their next step. The students were impressive in how they settled into the task - it is great to see student's willing to revisit and fine tune their writing over a period of time. Many are now word processing in prerparation for the final edit. Well done team. We will be using our critical skills to review some games in the near future (starting with econ island). It will be interesting to see how well we are able to transfer our skill set into another context. In chess today, John worked on end game and opening moves. The children revisited the difference between stalemate and checkmate, looked at how pieces support each other to checkmate and discussed the importance (generally speaking) of not taking the queen out too far and too early so that she becomes a target. Valuable lessons for a chess keen group. (VInnie and Marshall are showing a particularly heightened interest in chess at the moment - awesome!)
After lunch we read Frindle, pondered on the origins of words and went into our mixed market economy in Econ Island. Today's lesson introduced the idea of tax and welfare - means to alleviate problems of scarcity. I am still not sure, having read their accounts, whether they prefer this one to the command or completely free market. If you feel the urge see if you can have a discussion about it with your child. I enjoy the way their answers so often reflect arguments we hear in the adult world and am planning an opportunity for us to formally debate the merits of each method.
Cheers all - it's been a fun day of financial thinking!Scott.
Kia ora -Day 14A quick share check (mostly bad news) then onto the next stage of our Renzulli discussion. Today we were examining Renzulli's claim that giftedness is something that can be developed and is not something naturally acquired, like for example blue eyes or red hair. A good old-fashioned nature vs nurture debate - always good for a discussion. Wise as our students are, most of them took the middle road and claimed that both natural ability and nurturing are true and necessary. Interestingly, many tuned into the idea of passion - that you had to want to be gifted at something. Here are the notes from today's discussion:

Max agrees with Renzulli that you can be trained because if you really want to be good at something you can practice it a lot. Passion is important but its not the only thing because sometimes people are just naturally good. MIchael agrees with Max because if someone was born with it they would just know but most of us find it out, and he only knows people who ‘found out’ what they were good at, so he doesn’t think we are born with it. Annelise doesn’t think you can just be born because you need teaching as well - e.g. reading - you are not just born knowing how to read; Paxton argues that Max is partly correct - it is probably not something you can be born with....it is just something that people want to be ...Adam thinks you can develop giftedness because some people don’t want to do e.g. school work as much as others .. so you need to want it... Paris agrees it is about how much you want. VInnie thinks it is both because it is like 2 different types; e.g. creative giftedness could be gifted to you at birth or you might have been trained for it... Tobias disagrees with Paxton because you can’t just want it you also have to work for it. Solomon thinks you are partly born and partly trained at giftedness...because if you are born with big brains it can suck in lots of ideas which can be used when you are older; he agrees that you can be trained becuase if you want it and you practice a lot you can learn to be good at something... Tane agrees with Michael and Max because someone can be born with giftedness but also someone also needs to find their true talent or passion ot find their gift. Marshall thinks you develop it because e.g if you are not doing good at school you can study more, get better and become gifted...Ben agrees with Max because before you grow up you don’t know much but as you get older you train your giftedness because when you are older you know a lot of stuff. Lily says both because when she started to read she learned quicker than others so you can be born with it but she wasn’t good at writing but she developed it. Meaghan thinks that people are born with it... it is in your genes that your ability is set for what you do later... Liam agrees with Meaghan because he learns faster than some people his age and he can make guesses about things that tend to be correct.

For those of you interested in this debate the Hungarian Polgar sisters and chess champion Gata Kamsky are worth investigating - so too are Tiger Woods and the William's sisters for sporting giftedness.

Talent time followed Renzulli. The scientists - Max, Michael, Sophie, Tane and Meaghan tried to figure out what the atoms were doing that stopped the charged balloon from sticking to a steamed up wall. They found out but when I quizzed them they had 'forgotten' ! Next week they record their discoveries!! The animators are mostly finishing - such that Liam is starting a study on Ancient Egypt (his current fascination is the Rosetta stone - very interesting stuff); Ben is looking at architecture through a study of the whitehouse; Adam is considering a study on flight but is not sure he is truly passionate about it; Paxton has started creating his own language - he first categorised different kinds of words and is now setting about filling the categories - the aim is to show some consistency so we can e.g. quickly identify a verb etc. Marshall is re-doing his photos which went astray, so he can finish his stop-motion, . Annelise, Paris and Lily published their sonnet and started to publish their Shakespeare facts. Next week I think they should aim at a performance of the poem and video their piece from A Midsummer Nights Dream. Solomon worked on his pine cone babies to see if they had fibonacci numbers - they didn't but he knows that pine cone spirals do - he is thinking it is because they are not fully developed. We might have to check again later in the year. Vinnie was examining Phi - the supposedly 'golden ratio' that you get by dividing the larger of a fibonacci sequence with the preceding one. Tobias wrote another part of his music and has begun practising it at a consistent tempo.

After play we moved onto review writing again. Today we read some reviews - one on Harry Potter and one, written by a 13 year old on Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. We critiqued these in light of what we expected from a review and then had a go at putting our notes together in review form. The students are still coming to grips with the idea that a single piece of writing can be worked on over several different sessions : ) This is intriguing to me but something that I am trying to help the kids overcome - ha! There are some good pieces of writing coming together, and it is even more apparent that the students are starting to gain a sound knowledge of the importance of reasons and evidence in a piece of critical writing. Chess took us to lunch. Today's lesson was to be careful, when we place our pieces, that we check what the opponent can do in response.

In the afternoon we read frindle and discussed the characters' relationship. We then looked at econ island and returned to a free market competitive economy. Today's difference was that there was a scarcity of needs and no 'social welfare' to pick up the pieces of the people who missed out. Again, we had a split on opinions between those that enjoyed the excitement of the competition and those that preferred the solidity of the command economy from the previous week.

Thanks all,
see you next week.
Scott

Kia ora from day 13
Following a quick look at shares ( a number had lost money but many of the students saw the worth of a diversified portfolio : ) we discussed the next stage of our examination of Renzulli. Today was a discussion about the relative importance of creative and school giftedness. We had a few different points of view. Here's the discussion notes -
    • Vinnie thinks creative is better because you use your own mind whereas school giftedness you follow what teacher says; Paxton and Tobias say creative is more impt. because you get to free your mind and "travel" to new places and there is no correct answer, you can just invent. Having no one correct answer means there are many more options. Marshall agrees because there are no limits to what you can do and you get to choose what you are doing. Ben thinks school giftedness is better because it lets you get your work done and sets you up to do creative stuff when you are older; Adam thinks creative is better because you are learning school giftedness when you are doing it. MIchael agrees with Ben because it gives you the knowledge you will need for activities when you are older, also you have to do tests when you are older, so you need the school giftedness. Lily agrees with Michael because you can do your creative giftedness after then you will have both; Solomon says you need school giftedness when you are younger 'cause you will need it when you are older - but you need the skills that school gives you e.g. spelling. Vinnie wonders if we should practise both. You need creativity even at school says Adam. Annelise says it’s kind of both - you need school work like maths but you need creativity as well because even at school we need it, like Adam says. Meaghan says school because that kind of learning teaches you how to read and things and these are good for your brain and Tobias added these skills are basic needs. Tane says both because he’s the type of person that likes both and can achieve at both; Vinnie adds that school giftedness might be better because creative intelligence might only be one kind of thing but you can learn lots of different things at school; Annelise disagrees that you have to go to school you could be schooled at home; Meaghan retorted that she means being “schooled” it doesn’t matter where it takes place. Tobias agrees with Tane that both are important. Mr K wonders if being 'trained' in traditional 'school' learning can stifle your ability to be creative, and wonders if school could do a better job of teaching and nurturing creativity.

After Renzulli we went into talent time. The animators and I discovered "frame by frame" a great program for Mac which makes it very easy to put their stop motion animations onto the desktops. All the animators are at this stage with their projects now. The scientists worked on another static electricity experiment. Today they were comparing how long a charged balloon could stick to a wall, then compared that to how well it stuck to a steamed up wall. The dry wall lasted for 33 seconds while the steam coated wall wouldn't stick at all. Next week we'll figure out why. The Shakespearians finished their sonnet and began publishing it. The mathematicians have moved onto looking at different number bases that can be calculated on their hands. Finally, Tobias (who has already completed his talent time project) worked on the end part of the verse of his song - today he was working on how to get his progression to return to the beginning of the song in a way that sounds musical.
Following morning tea we returned to Granny O'Grimm. Today we were focussed on representation. We stressed the idea of giving reasons for our point of view and providing evidence from the text to support our argument. We watched the movie again, stopping when someone had a point and recording their idea and the evidence they were identifying that gave weight to their idea. We explored the questions how did the author represent his character and why? The idea was to connect the representations to the message the author had. The students are still getting to grips with making the connections to the message, however, they have made significant strides in gathering evidence to back up their arguments and this was clear in their writing. Chess rounded out the morning with John's teaching points today helping us focus on which pawns we move out and which we leave to protect.
After lunch we got to trial a teaching tool Susan brought us back from the states - it is a Kaplan's Depth and complexity tool that encourages deeper questioning of literature. We used it today to explore our next chapter of Frindle. It's a simple approach - spin the dial, choose a card from the selected D&C icon and discuss the question on the back - it worked well today; test #2 tomorrow. We finished the day with the next round of econ island. Today we met command economies (no choice where one worked, all basic needs meet but no incentive to go beyond that, no scarcity of needs but no wants or extra things to work for). The really striking thing about this lesson was the students reaction to it. We had a clear and pretty much 50/50 split between students who thought this was a much fairer and easier system (because all of the students had an equal share, rather than some getting rewards while others missed out, and there was no competing for basic needs) and students who thought it was a bit boring, lacked challenge and needed incentives. Sound like a familiar debate about political systems? What made their reaction especially interesting to me was that we hadn't discussed it in those terms at all as a group, i.e they came to their positions independently in their writing.
Cheers team! See you all next week,Scott.




Hello from day 12.
Today started with a quick assessment of our shares investments. There has been a mix of making and losing money. Paxton and Annelise believe they have a hot tip on some chances to make money, so they sold some shares and bought some new ones. It will be interesting to see if the changes in their portfolio pay off. We looked at another part of Renzulli's theory of giftedness and held a community of inquiry about what we thought. Today we were exploring differences between school giftedness and creative giftedness. First we had to establish what we thought each of these mean. It was most interesting hearing the students take on school giftedness and what they perceived as its connections to order, neatness and rules : ) The class was clear on creative giftedness being all about imagination, making up and combining things in new ways. Next week we will explore whether we think the two kinds of giftedness can co-exist and which one we think is the most important. We rounded out the morning with talent time. Solomon and Vinnie gathered up diagrams of Fibonacci patterns in the playground; Marshall, Liam, Paxton, Adam and Ben worked on stop motion animation; Lily, Annelise and Paris wrote another stanza for their sonnet; Tane, Sophie, and Michael got water to bend with static electricity then set about reviewing their notes to find out what what was happening to the atoms (the electrons are being exchanged:); Meaghan was finding out the properties of Protactinium and Tobias started working on his passion project - composing a song. He has chosen a key and has the start of a melody and chord progression.
After play we watched another animation - Granny O'Grimm. We reflected on what we learnt about critical reviews, from the week before. Then we took quick notes providing a short synopsis, a reasoned opinion on the film, and what we took the author's message to be - providing evidence from the film to back up our interpretations. We looked at the start of the movie a second time and began exploring the critical literacy idea of representation. We charted ways the author had chosen to represent Granny and discussed these in light of our own experiences. Next week we will continue working on representation and draft a full review. John arrived on cue to help with chess. He worked on end games with the kids - working with them to explore how you checkmate with only a queen and king of your own. John's expertise and passion has really lifted the chess excitement in the class - it is great to see everyone so engaged.
After lunch we read a chapter of Frindle - we haven't had a look at this for a long time becuase I had to take the library book back and wait several weeks for Fishpond to send me the copy I ordered. For the first time we did this for pure enjoyment - a whole four pages : ) Econ Island part 3 ended our day - today we introduced the idea of competition. The businesses all had the same commodities and were able to undercut each other's prices. There were also more businesses so the workers had more choice about who to sell their labour too. Not surprisingly, more people made more money today, of course the incentives were the winner on the day : ) The children wrote up their econ island experience to round out the day.
Cheers team for a fun days learning.Catch you all next week!Scott.
Howdy from day 11.
We started our day with a quick look at our investment portfolios. Those who had invested in Westpac were pleased to see it had gone up a dollar! Many of us experienced the value of diversifying with some companies going up while others went down. We looked at how to use the computer software to graph our results. Those who had finished recalculating their net worth were able to invest some more of their money, as most of the groups had kept some of their initial capital tucked away. After this we turned to our study of giftedness (affective domain) by critically examining a leading academic - Joseph Renzulli. We held a community of inquiry discussion into two of his claims - that there are many kinds of intelligences and that what counts as intelligent varies across time and space. We decided we agreed with both of his statements and gave examples to support our claims. We finished off the morning with 45 minutes on our talent time. Tobias is nearly done with code theory - he can explain generally what it is, why it is important and give examples of how it is used. Paris, Lily and Annelise have started writing a sonnet about monsters. Sonnets have a strict poetic structure, so this is no easy feat for students of this age so it is great to see them working together. They have 2 lines thus far each with the requisite 10 syllables. Next week they will need to engage with the first rhyme pattern. Sophie discovered all her questions about gold, MIchael ticked off nitrogen. Tane finished his notes on Bismuth and then conducted an experiment where a statically charged balloon 'bent' water. Once he was finished he wrote up what happened. Next week he will revisit his notes on atoms and see if he can figure out, using the appropriate language, what happened to make the water 'bend'. Ben and Liam started on a stopmotion video, Paxton continued with his, Marshall finished off his Stykz (stop motion next week for him). Vinnie and Solomon read some more about Fibonacci and created a spiral using the Fibonacci pattern. Next week, weather permitting they can try and find some Fibonacci patterns in the playground.
After play we turned to our mental edge curriculum, which is critical thinking this term. The students had watched a small video and discussed the ideas of representation and inclusion/exclusion last week. This week we revisited those terms (they remembered them well) and then discussed what a critical response ( a review) to a film might look like. The ultimate aim here is to write a review that includes the language from critical literacy we are exploring. However, today I just wanted to see what they knew about review writing and how well each of the students could put one together (pre-assessment : ). So, we watched a cute little animation could 'Starless Night'. We brainstormed some shared responses and put together a basic structure of what a review might have, then the kids were left to write their own. I am looking forward to reading them tonight. Our chess tutor, John, came in with his laptop and took us through some aspects of a chess game on the television. This was a valuable look at some important parts of the game - we discussed strong opening moves, the importance of the centre of the board, and pinning an opponent. Many of the students had a lot of ideas to throw at John as we took on the computer.
After lunch we returned to econ island. Today we explored needs/wants, choices and the cost/benefits, labour and leverage. The students had to make choices based on incentives and disincentives, they had to negotiate a price for their labour and try and satisfy their fake families needs and wants. It was a lot of fun in the activity but difficult for many of them to report on after - many got stuck on the idea that they had choices about how they could sell their labour. I'm not sure if something was lost in explanation, if this was so obvious they were over thinking it, or whether it was just a new concept that they had no experiential attachment to help them make sense of it. Either way, if you get a chance discussing choice, in an economic sense, at home would be a benefit to us : )
Cheers all,take care and I will see you all next week.Scott.
After lunch


Kia ora from day one of term 2!
A busy start to our term, of course. No time for writing "what I did in the holidays" (actually, does anyone really still do that?). Instead, we started our term by doing ome virtual stock market investment. I had calculated everyone's Pakiki dollars, earned through fantastic Socratic questioning, helping out with good habits of mind etc in term one. I gave everyone a $P500 bonus and away we went to the online New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZSX). We did some shared reading going over language like shares, market risk, diversification, capital gain, and investment portfolio. Then we looked over the site and established how you can work out what a company has been trading at over the last month, how you might check out what a company actually does, and how to record your purchases using Numbers (excel on Mac). Finally, off we went in pairs to invest. The students were very enthusiastic, although mostly a little frugal - many were only wanting to buy a handful of shares in each company : ) Tor and I encouraged them to take a little more of a gamble so as to maximise their return potential but we didn't always convince them. Meaghan and Paris did manage to invest most of their money though. Next week we will take a look and see how we have fared. Invest some more, if we can. The aim is to see who has made the most money over the course of the term. Good luck investors.
This all took a while to set up, so when we finished we went straight into talent time. We continued with this for a little while after play. Max found out noone knows how mercury was discovered, Meaghan is still finding out about Protactinium, Sophie wrote heaps about gold and brought along a recipe for alchemist's gold : ). Marshall has a stykz animation flowing with his stick figure ending up in hospital, Vinnie and Solomon both continued with their Fibonacci numbers (VInnie learnt about rabbits and Fibonacci, while Solomon worked on calculations and how the Fibonacci spiral is created - he has also been researching this at home - go Solomon!) Tobias has almost completed his mini-study of code theory, which we found out is a means of communicating digital data with an insignificant amount of error. Together we thought of several examples of this kind of communication. Paxton began exploring the world of stop animation; Paris, Annelise and Lily found out what a sonnet is and recorded the structure (next step is to read one then try and write one of their own : )

After talent we looked at a short animation, This Side Up, as part of our critical literacy study. This is part of a wider emphasis on critical thinking this term. Paxton found a great opportunity to use some Socratic questioning during this (top marks Paxton!) Having watched the movie (it was only about 4 minutes long) we discussed the way an author chooses to represent her/his characters, why they might do this, and who might be excluded when they put a text together - looking specifically at this text (the movie), Tane argued the author had portrayed the character ( a man trying to get a computer to work) as a kind of "dumb ogre". The other's were able to elaborate on the stereotype that the author had drawn upon. We noticed that young people who didn't know about Elvis might be excluded from part of the stories references, and that people who were unfamiliar with computers (e.g. in Niger there was only 0 .7 of a computer per 1000 people, in 2005) might also be excluded.

Having sharpened our critical thinking we turned to chess. This term we have a leader-board operating. We also had a surprise visit from a chess tutor. John, is free to come on more than one day a week to help children improve their game. Fantastic. Today he watched the kids engage in their chess challenges and offered tips and advice to some. He stayed a little through lunch to watch them finish their games. Starting next week he will work with a different group a week, while the others challenge each other.
After lunch we went into starting our economic systems. We are playing a simulation game, Econ Island, which puts the students through a series of activities which introduces them to important economic terms. Each activity increases the complexity of the economic situation. Today we began with barter and introduced ideas about incentives, scarcity, trade and location. We discussed these ideas and how they affected the simulation. We then had another round, this time introducing money and a shop. At the end we discussed the difference money made and the important features that money needed to have - durability, uniqueness, uniformity and portability. The children then had to write a reflection on what they had learned in this session, making sure they used the language of the discipline that we had introduced. Many of the students wrote excellent pieces- notable mentions go to Tobias, Marshall, Max, Paris and Meaghan for their writing. Paxton also wrote a nice piece and needs mention for the persistence and resilience he showed. Sophie wrote fluently in her 'learning cave' and Annelise showed she can take responsible risks with her writing! Well done.
Thanks for a fun first day back team,see you all next week.Scott.
Hi all from the last Tuesday of term - Day 9.


Today we warmed up with the questioning game. Given it was the last day of term, I decided to make it a bit of a competition, which Tobias took out. It was impressive to see how much better the students were at phrasing questions then at the start of the term. We followed this with a tech challenge - building a table that could hold as many books as possible ( we chose Horrible Histories) out of paper, 1 piece of thin card, popsicle sticks, straws and tape. While success was limited in holding up any books there was great teamwork displayed by some of the groups, notably Max, Sophie, Lily and Meaghan. We read another chapter of Frindle and focussed on questioning why the author was portraying Mrs Granger the way he did (this kind of questioning is very much a beginning of some critical literacy for the students). Some people went onto talent time while others invested their time catching up on work. Well done to Michael, Tane, Adam, Paris, Lily and Sophie for working superbly to a deadline to get their products complete. A special mention to Sophie who showed how fantastic she could focus and how much she can achieve in a short space of time - her reflection on her portrait that she is "speedy" was well deserved!


After play it was down to the serious business of reflections. I had created a term overview reflection that canvassed a lot of what we have learned over the first term. This allows me to check exactly where different kids are at with their understanding of key points and thinking tools as we move into term two. The students also had to do a short halfway progress report on their talent/passion projects and also had to reflect on pieces of work that will be included in their learning journals, at the end of the year. This was a lot of hard thinking and the students did very well. Well done to Marshall for excellent reflective focus during this session - he provided some thoughtful answers and made a very efficient use of his time.
Most of the students finished off their self-portraits and framed them with words to reflect what they think makes them a Pakiki kid. These are now displayed on the class walls - it is nice to start to cover the walls again!


In the afternoon we moved into a must-do/you-choose session. Paxton has worked industriously this term and was the first to check off all of his tasks - well done Paxton! If the children had finished their must-do's they could move onto their you choose activities. Liam did a great design for the new Kaplan's icon we are toying with - relate across space; Meaghan and Max used SCAMPER to work on an alternative for the easter bunny, Vinnie and Solomon continued to explore the fibonacci sequence - next term they will research and investigate the way it portrays itself in nature. Well done all and we wish you all safe travels over the Easter break



I hope everyone enjoys their holidays and I will see you all for term 2!

Cheers,

Scott.
Kia ora from Day 8

Today we started with a warm up unpacking quotes from some famous gifted people about their talents: "
I have no particular talent. I am merely inquisitive.
-Albert Einstein

Everybody has talent, it’s just a matter of moving around until you’ve discovered what it is.
  • George Lucas

The students had to consider what the quote meant and to reword in a way that made sense to them. This wasn't just a lesson in paraphrasing though. The warm up's primary intention was to begin to get the kids focussed on their own talents, and their sense of themselves as a Pakiki kid. We listened to the paraphrasing and had a short discussion about whether they agreed, disagreed or partly agreed with the statements. Later in the day we turned back to this kind of Pakiki self-reflection, looked at a couple of cartoons about giftedness and had a discussion about our relationships with peers at home-school since we have become a Pakiki kid.
The theme of self continued in the morning with Dr. Cindy Hall presenting and engaging us with the concept of mindfulness. This idea, which stems from a Buddhist tradition, encourages us to keep our thoughts in the present and to pay attention to the details of our experiences, both around and within us. Dr. Hall guided us through some activities to help us tune into this kind of thinking. At the end the children reported back mainly as feeling tired, however, I found they were relaxed AND attentive in the session immediately following Dr. Hall's visit. Thanks so much to Cindy for sharing this knowledge with us and I hope to continue to include these activities in our schedule ( I may need to find 16 soft toys!). After this we read Frindle and thought Socratically about how we might challenge the reasons and evidence someone gives when presenting their argument or point of view.
After play we broke into a mixture of talent time, portrait and poetry work. Ben completed and published a fantastic I am from poem. Poetry seems to come easily to Ben. Adam has also completed his poem- it is on my desk to read this morning. Marshall, Meaghan and Lily completed their portraits which, I believe, is the whole class finished painting! Liam and Paxton had a go at matching their storyboard and animations. I am finding the Tuesday animators have a tendency to make each frame of their Stykz program represent one part of the story which makes their animation jumpy. Next week's animation lesson will be to focus on trying to use several frames to show one scene of the story, and hopefully to achieve more flow. The Shakespearians have been practising and memorising their fairy song, from the Midsummer Nights Dream play. We look forward to hearing/watching a couple of rehearsals to give them feedback.
After lunch we spent some time on systems activities. Here's the day's timetable (the order of events moved around a little to accomodate our guest). Sorry about the brief blog this week - the end of term seems to be getting cluttered with after school and evening meetings which makes it a little hard to squeeze in so I am remembering what I can of yesterday's lesson over Wednesday's breakfast : ) Hopefully, it still gives you something to discuss about our Pakiki week.

Tuesday 27 March
280 minutes

Morning = 115 min
Warm Up
Unpacking some Quotes
Mental Edge: Socratic Questioning via Frindle:
Probing Reasons and Evidence
Affective Domain- meditation with Dr. Hall
Talent Time (everyone but the animators who need computers - you start by painting : )

Middle = 90 minutes
Affective Domain
Thinking about what it means to be a “Pakiki Kid”
Portraits/Poetry/Talent Time
- finishing work!

Afternoon = 75 minutes
Systems: Roll the Dice - Choose an Activity
Chess
Reflection Practice
Clean Up (10 mins)

Cheers all, see you next week!

Kia ora from day 7
This morning we focussed once again on questioning. We started with the idea of ignorance and our ignorance logs - these are places where we record questions we wonder about. They are not intended to be questions we necessarily find the answers to; rather the primary objective is to encourage and celebrate our curiosity and wonderment. This morning we warmed up by thinking of questions we had about our talent time topics. In some ways this is a little contrived, as the idea of ignorance logs is as a place to record spontaneous questions that come to us, however, it was a good way to remind the students the logs are there and to reiterate their purpose and importance. We followed this with a mental edge questioning activity that allowed us to revise our Socratic questions (probing assumptions) from last week. We started reading a short novel (Frindle - a humorous story of a gifted boy who invents a word) and the students used their Socratic questioning sheets and their thinking to question assumptions and clarify meaning throughout the chapter. It is very evident that most of the students are improving their questioning skills - this is really encouraging. A next step for us to watch out for is to see if this improvement translates into other areas of their thinking e.g. better questioning in research projects, at home and at their home school etc.
After mental edge we split the class up. The children in the animators talent group used this time to work on their portraits, which are almost complete. Today they were painting their work- focussing on the different values that were apparent in their black and white photos. This wasn't easy and we all had a sharp learning curve about how best to mix black and white paint, how to be extra careful in observing our photo and its shades, and how to apply our brushstrokes. Meanwhile, the rest of the class went onto their talent time projects. Solomon and Vinnie finally cracked the swimming pool puzzle - its about 2.6 swimming pools (olympic sized) that you will need if you plan to store all the gold ever mined. They have now moved onto calculating how many would be needed for all the blood in humans - a little macabre perhaps but a challenging maths problem nonetheless. They have so far figured out how much blood there is (taken by working on an average size human). It is a lot! Meanwhile Tobias finished writing up his Pi expose - he has also written something about why Pi is fascinating to him (which I am looking forward to reading next week) and found out a simple way to express what Pi's transcendence means - hurray! The Shakespearians watched Midsummer Night's Dream and downloaded the script. Their next step is to choose which part they want to recite. The scientists chose their elements and began gathering information about them. Max and Sophie are intereste din mercury and gold and are working together, MIchael is investigating nitrogen and Tane is looking at bismuth. The most challenging part of this research for this age group is deciding what form the information they gather is important and what isn't. Next week we will work on our questioning and see if we can decide just what questions are important to answer about each element.
After play the animators got to attend to their talent - today using the mac version of pivot ( a simple stick figure animation programme) called stykz. Wow! what a hit this was. I was prising children away from watching the actions and struggled to get the animators to think of anything else for the rest of the day. Ben showed excellent talent and initiative, not only in the skill of animating but in being able to make concise stories to give his animations some context. He has some recent experience using these programs and it has paid off. Marshall created several and is working on reducing the 'random' element to his work. Adam and Paxton did a fine job of exploring the possibiities of the programme and Liam, after a short go, turned to storyboarding an idea for his next animation. He responded very well to being challenged to extending his storyline to better accentuate a problem and solution. Next week all the animators, having explored the possibilities of the programme today, will be storyboarding. The challenge for many of them will be there can be no fatalities! While this was going on the other students worked on painting their portraits. There were some very good results and almost everyone showed an excellent willingness to persist and strive for accuracy even when it was for some of them quite a difficult task. Max completed three versions of his before he was satisfied that he had paid close enough attention to the photograph; Sophie worked through her the first part of her lunchtime to get finished; Annelise showed an excellent eye and technique for achieving her shading as did Tane, Solomon, Paris and Michael had some difficulty getting their paint mixed right but were willing to keep refining their technique. Vinnie also had several goes and has virtually completed his with a far better attention tot he different shades in his final effort. Next week, as they get finished up, we will begin exploring what being a gifted learner means to them and their individual ideas about this will act as a backdrop to each portrait.
After lunch we moved onto systems. We have been learning a lot about categorising systems over the last few weeks and today was more an opportunity to 'play' with designing, inventing, adapting existing and new systems. For this we used a collection of thinkers keys activities which I had written on three cubes. The students were allowed to browse over the suggestions and choose one to tackle. Many of them showed their creative side - Sophie redesigned the airport baggage handling system, several students designed a cat feeder for use on holiday - I really liked the way some students were thinking systematically about how much food it would hold, how the cat would be alerted to the feeder etc - Adam's was particularly thought out first time around and the others all were able to refine their designs, adding and adapting parts to make their system more useable. We finished, as always with a reflection - it is good to see the new students increasing their familiarity with some of the habits of mind and being willing to challenge themselves to learn about new one. Of course, they are already intuitively using many of them but having a language to consciously reflect on what you are doing is a powerful tool for selecting good thinking strategies across one's learning.
Cheers team,see you all in a week!Scott.

Kia ora - Day 6
Sorry about the delay - I have been madly reading everything I can get my hands on about the fascinating world of chaotic systems and fractals - here's a site for those who are interested to start out on - but believe me there is anenormous web of discovery out there on these amazing ideas and phenomena:
http://fractalfoundation.org/resources/what-is-chaos-theory/.

We started our day with maths - pi in fact because as Tobias so thoughtfully reminded me in the weekend, world Pi day is this week ( the 14 of March, 3.14 in the american dating system). Tobias and Tor had kindly brought in some pi decorated biscuits to really reinforce the importance of the day : ) Thanks!! Our Pi expert (Tobias :) was busy on the computer with an interactive site that challenged calculating the area of grass, the length of rope (radius) or the amount of fencing (circumference) of a circular paddock inhabited by a hungry goat. The others were working in pairs, armed with a piece of string, a ruler, a calculator and a pencil and were measuring and recording the circumference and diameter of circles in the classroom. They then had to divide the cirumference by the diameter and see what they came up with- a fun way to explore pi. We had a chat about pi afterwards, its irrationality and transcendental nature, and unpacked reasons why we might have not exactly got it - our measuring inaccuracies, our measuring tools inaccuracies and the lack of a perfect circle in the real world were three ideas the children came up with.

After math we focussed on Socratic questions again, this time looking at probing assumptions. We figured out what an assumption was, looked at how Socrates might challenge some of these, practised with some examples of our own and then had a go at challenging the assumptions made by the characters in a Greek fable. I think we have a class of potential lawyers, because they quickly tuned into noticing assumptions - e.g. that gold and silver are valuable to everyone, that someone crying means they are always sad, and challenged these using the questions they had on hand. Lily seemed to have a particularly good knack for this. Following this we rounded out the morning session by turning ourselves to portraits - some of the children had a short lesson on 'underpainting' and were able to begin painting a photocopy of their finished self-portrait. Others were continuing the measurement theme from the morning, getting their portraits as accurate as possible. Max spent some time doing this and publishing his fantastic "I am from" poem.

After play we moved onto talent time. The animators had new paper which is much more accepting of being flipped. Liam managed to get finished and moved onto using the stykz animation program on the computers. He was in his element here - and I had to remind him an hour and half later that he needed to stop to eat - this phenomena is not uncommon at Pakiki : ) Ben also had a go at stykz and had created a great spiky creature for his flipbook. Paxton made a great flipbook of a ball (I think) falling into water. It has taken some convincing but many of the students are finally seeing the benefits of simplicity in flip books. It is much easier to get your subject to move realistically if they do not have too many moving parts, and then you get the real thrill of animation, and can see the principles of the illusion of movement that are going on.

The scientists were getting their own thrills watching sugar disappear in hot water - seems simple enough - but when you consider common sense tells you that dropping solids into water will cause displacement (common sense thanks to Archimedes : ) and it doesn't with sugar, you start to think molecularly about what is going on and this is quite exciting - or at least it was for Max, Meaghan, Michael, Sophie and Tane. These students showed all the awe and wonderment that makes science a kind of magical fun, and then methodically wrote up their experiment - recording their hypothesis, methods and results - well done team, so far you are superbly showing the habits that a scientist needs.

The Shakespearians - Annelise, Paris and Lily, finished their fact finding mission. They had become stumped on a few questions but discovered that books indeed can trump the internet at times when it is time to find answers. They are now ready to watch and learn about MIdsummer Nights Dream so they can recite and perform parts of the play.

Meanwhile, Vinnie and Solomon were thinking more about how to calculate how many swimming pools are needed to fit all of the mined gold in the world. They are getting much closer now - they know the swimming pools volume, they know the density of gold and have converted its weight into something that can be thought of in terms of volume. Solomon particularly demonstrated excellent mathematical thinking around this subject and great persistence at solving the problem. Next week it should be finished. At the same time, Tobias was recording Pi information and we finished our session with his recitation of pi to 65 decimal places (that's right, 65!!!) and the equal distribution of the chocolate pi biscuits : ) Thanks again to Tor for all her help in this session ( and her biscuits!).

After lunch we got down to the business of systems - chaotic ones. We watched a short YouTube introduction to the topic and then considered in more depth Lorenz's discovery of the butterfly effect - that minute changes in initial conditions can render vastly different consequences. Meaghan, Lily, Tobias and Adam showed great interest and some deep thinking during this session. It is amazing to think of the vastness of variables and the infinite effect small things that seemingly insignificant events and actions can have on the future. It is empowering to think that little things that individuals do might have vast influence and intriguing to be conscious of the huge variables we are simply a part of - cosmic stuff : )

To avoid getting lost in all this 'scientific cosmology' we needed to play - so, keeping in theme, I had fractal generators on all of the computers and the students were able to explore the infinite and interesting reproduction of patterns that these create. If you are at all interested in this please explore further with your kids!

Ciao for now,
see you all next week, Scott.







Kia ora - Day 5
Today we started with a maths challenge - finding as many ways as we could to get to the number 42, without using the digits 4 and 2. There were some good use of integers - Tane and Tobias both tried this track; Paxton started adding 42 1's together, got bored with that (rightly so) and stopped at 7 then multiplied his bracketed seven ones by 6 (a clever way to alleviate the boredom, I thought). We moved into questioning learning after that. Today we started on Socratic questions. We read a little about Socrates and even listen to a couple of fragments out of Plato's The Republic, which showed how much Socrates loved to talk in questions. Everyone was given a sheet of Socratic questions which was divided into different sections. We started on the first section "clarifying meaning" and practised asking these in response to a Persian folktale about a merchant and an elephant. Michael was most insightful when he asked something like "why is the merchant so keen to make money?".
We moved onto portraits and poetry. The children are at different stages on both of these units and they now have the option to work on one or other at this time of the day. They are still obligated to finish both by the end of the term, but they can choose which one they want to invest time into first. Vinnie published his excellent I am from poem, Tobias has almost completed his, Meaghan worked hard at being creative (yes you can work at creativity:) and came up with a much more interesting way to write about ballet and her cousins, Tane persevered at thinking of an interesting way to say he was from Auckland. I had him close his eyes and remember the taxi ride into Auckland he did last year - this must have helped because he came up with a fine line about the sparkling lights and the tower to the sky. Marshall showed an efficient approach to planning which has his poem well on its way and is beginning to get the idea of making his prose more poetic - he turned his parents into branches (like a family tree) that support him. Meanwhile others were putting finishing touches on their portraits - well done Annelise, who fixed her eyes positioning; Solomon who drew three versions of himself then judged the best of each to do another - superb striving for accuracy; Ben and Adam's portraits are taking on a clear likeness. Well done all the artists - so many of you are ready to paint now.
After morning tea we went into talent mode. This required a little nurturing as we still get up and running and we were fortunate to have the help of Tor at this time. Tobias took on trying to figure out Catalan numbers - yikes, I wasn't much help here (if any of you know how to unravel these please let us know). We did find out some basic ideas about them though and they provided us with an opportunity to log further questions we wanted to find out. Solomon nad Vinnie worked out how much gold was in the world and the volume of an olympic size swimming pool. Next week we will try and join the two by working out how many of these pools we would need to hold the earth's mined gold. THe scientists did a great job of winding their way through an exploration of the atom. Tane was especially super, and Sophie figured out what was at the heart of an atomic structure. Lily and Annelise also found out screes about Shakespeare's life and times and are almost ready to go onto the next step in their Shakespeare exploration - watching Midsummer Night's Dream. THe animators created flip books, with Ben and Adam nearly completing theirs. Liam created five short storyboards ready o be turned into an animation; Marshall worked on showing how characters' body parts move and Paxton learned how to scale a character to create a stencil. These are all small group projects where children need to work independently while I bounce around as many students as I can, and the Tuesday team did a fine job of this today - well done.
At lunch time the footballers got a bonus and were able to go and train with one of Dunedin's top coaches, who was visiting NEV for a session. After lunch we turned to systems. By now it was hot and humid and there were some tired brains but they did a wonderful job of investigating complex systems - these are systems that have reasonable predictability but are not fully knowable - e.g. traffic. We unpacked the traffic system and Annelise and Liam realised that the human factor limited what we could know. The others cottoned onto this very quickly also with a very insightful discussion into the traffic system. The class then went into pairs onto google images and tried to find other complex systems which they saved on their pen drives to make their own system posters out of. Lily thought of the prison system; someone had the idea that war was predictable but not fully knowable; atomic systems, the solar systems and many others were discovered and discussed. Not bad for a hot and tired afternoon - well done Tuesday : ) See you all next week.
P.s words for the day were patronising, endeavour (we have forgotten how this one works), and the formula for volume (that one is for Vinnie and Solomon mainly : ) oh and Sophie, if you are reading...what is the centre of the atom called : )
Cheers! See you next week.




Kia ora from day 4.A big day getting talent groups underway today. The animators started creating flip books; the Shakespearians debated which play they wanted to focus on; the scientists began their task of finding out about atoms and the mathematicians poured over their options. All the groups spent some time with me planning how their project would run, what their goals were and how they new they had achieved them.
Before all of this we had a warm-up; what if kids were running the school. The aim was to elaborate as deeply as they could from one idea. Most of the students took the idea that if the kids were in charge that would mean the teachers would be the students. Liam believed this would require a brainwashing of the teachers so that they still had things to learn ( he overestimates what we know, I think :) and Marshall pointed out if we brainwashed them this would mean they would have to learn to talk and walk etc. again. Meaghan chimed in with the need for toilet training and the design of large nappies. A strange place to end up but definitely an example of elaborating on a single idea.
We worked on our poetry after warm-up. Many children were publishing their mundane poems and I was working with those who had already published on their 'I am from" poems. Vinnie was already onto this poem, having read through our examples the week before and he showed an excellent poetic sense with his creation. Well done Vinnie! Paxton has also created a thoughtful piece of writing. I am not sure if he brainstormed first or not but he has crafted some great ideas into a super sounding poem, and he wants to continue with it at home! Way to go Paxton. Paris found that just getting all her ideas out in a great big rush was very useful for her writing style, while others carefully created brainstorms to guide them. This is a solid approach which I am sure will reap some reward in the upcoming weeks as we write and edit these poems.
After play we worked on questioning techniques. We discussed the difference between open and closed questions and then did an exercise to explore both of them. First we were restricted to only asking closed questions. Paxton was the volunteer who had a picture (of a dragon attacking a castle) hidden behind the screen. The students asked him yes or no questions to try and find out, and draw, the picture he had. The idea was to show that these types of questions limit the flow of information. Second, Paris hid behind the screen with a cartoon of animals watching a scene from King Kong (when Kong is on top of the Empire State Building). This time the students were encouraged to ask open questions that conveyed a lot more accurate information in a shorter time. This was a lot of fun and allowed to keep thinking about, and to practice asking our questions.
We moved into a chess playing session while I conferenced with talent groups. While this meant we didn't get an actual chess lesson today, it did allow me time to talk and plan the talent time with each group. We got lucky with a visit from Greta, who is one of the chess tutors that came and spoke at our chess night. She was able to help some of our students with their chess, watching and giving tips while they played. Tobias and Solomon particularly benefited from this. Thanks Greta!
In the afternoon we took another look at systems. We discussed the difference between abstract and real things and how the categories we had put onto our systems, last week, were abstract. We stressed that it what category you came up with, or put something into, was less important than the reason you have for the decision you have made. Then we thought about systems as being either simple or complicated. We upacked what these words meant in this context - simple systems are highly predictable and have few parts; complicated systems are also predictable but might have many parts. We went on a systems finding exercise around the school, categorising the systems we discovered as either simple or complicated. Tor was helping us in the afternoon and helped us on our wanderings. Thanks Tor!
We finished the day with a reflection and clean up.
Cheers all - see you all next week. Here's the diary:

Tuesday 28th February
Warm Up
What if schools were run by student councils?

Affective Domain/Talent:
Playing with Poetry: Part 3 - edit your poems for publishing; where I am from poem reading; brainstorm and write! : )

Mental Edge: Questioning
Ignorance Logging - questions for your talent project

Questioning - deep or shallow.
Talent group planning
Chess: Into Chess groups; lesson # 2 and play

Systems: Lesson # 2 - Review categorising; New categories simple and complicated systems.
Reflection Practice
Clean Up (10 mins)








Kia ora from day 3.
This morning's warm-up was an exercise in originality and flexibility. We tried to think of a wide range of unusual uses for the hair clippings on a hairdressers floor. We heard ideas like fake moustaches, teddy bear stuffing, rope and a gorilla suit. The children worked in small groups and LACE brainstormed their ideas. This kind of brainstorming demands you record all ideas and judge them later. Once we had finished and heard some suggestions I had the groups rank their ideas, with originality as their criteria. We practiced our question game again today, only this time we first watched a clip of professionals playing (Whose line is it anyway) went into two teams, chose a theme (we chose astronauts on a flight to Uranus and two prisoners locked in a tower), and then played. Lily, MIchael and Ben were stand out performers. Lily made excellent use of the question words I had displayed for them, Michael was very quick with replies and Ben did a fine job of staying in character (as an astronaut who desperately needed the toilet ). After our game we went on with our poetry, that we had started the week before. The students again showed excellent persistence at being encouraged to make their poems better. Many students finished and published - well done Paris, Adam, Vinnie, Solomon, MIchael, Ben and the others who are at this stage - you have your first work on your pen drives which we can transfer to your issuu accounts over the coming weeks. After play we turned to our value portraits. I had printed the black and white photos we took last week and the students first took careful note of the value that was evident in these. Well done for remembering what 'value' meant in this context. We then used careful measurement of the photographs to work out the size of our heads and the relative position of our features. We took this knowledge to our sketches and set about striving for accuracy. When we found things tricky to draw I encouraged the students to draw over their photographs concentrating on the shape of their features. Once again, almost all the students showed a wonderful capacity to not settle for 'ok'. Vinnie, Solomon, Marshall, Lily all showed a determination to redo things in order to get them right. Additionally Ben, Adam, and Max showed a very careful and attentive approach to their work that is yielding fantastic results - and these are just the students that I can remember late in the day. It really is a joy to teach kids who won't settle and are determined to improve on their previous efforts. We went into our chess groups after 'affective art". Each group got a teaching point - the newbies learnt how a knight moves, the pawn group worked on understanding stalemate and the knights looked at some finer points of castling. Everyone seems to be enjoying chess in this group so if you get a chance to play at home please do : )
After lunch we worked on our systems understanding. In small groups we investigated defining a system then we were given a list of systems and asked to decide how we would categorise these. From a teacher's perspective it was a lot of fun hearing the children discuss and debate where things ought to go. We summarised this lesson by discussing what was difficult about categorising. The students noticed that things could be similar in some ways but different in others. I introduced the idea to them that what was important in selecting a category was having a rationale for your decision and accepting that different people would categorise in different ways - consequently we considered the idea of perspective. Our words for the day emerged then as reason, categorising and perspective. If you get a chance to challenge your kids to explain these that would be great.
Another enjoyable day of teaching and learning. Thanks team. See you all next week : )
Ka kite, Scott .... oh and here's the diary:


Tuesday 21st February



Warm Up

Unusual uses for hair clippings

Mental Edge: Questioning

Ignorance Logging

The Question Game: Youtube Clip - what techniques are used?

Affective Domain/Talent:

Playing with Poetry: Part 2 - edit your poems for publishing; where I am from poem reading

Affective Domain/Talent

Self-portraits - proportion and value: Part two printing photos and sketching YOU : ) examine your photo and start shading or making ‘notes’.

Mental Edge/Chess: Into Chess groups; lesson # 1 and play


Concept Learning/Systems: Lesson # 1 - what is a system; categorising systems

Talent Development: Choosing your talent time.

Reflection Practice

Clean Up (10 mins)










Kia ora from day 2! Today we started with a creative thinking exercise that many of the students enjoyed and excelled at. We ask a what if question and the students try and answer as fluently and with as much elaboration as they can. Liam realised if plants grew limbs it probably meant they would need a brain and nervous system to control them. THis led to much conjecture about what a plant with a brain might decide to do, though as Tane pointed out small fruit would probably only have small brains and, therefore, might not think about too much at all. We followed this with the question game which some of you might have seen on the television theatre sports show whose line is it anyway. Here the students had to answer every question with another question. Non-sequitors, hesitation, and statements resulted in a foul. This was a lot of fun adn very challenging. The purpose of this activity was to have a fun introduction to developing the questioning skills that are so vital to curious minds. We finished the morning with a playing with words poetry lesson. This is part of a longer poetry unit that has the students reflect on themselves and their backgrounds. Today we simply took a mundane object from within the room and "played" with how we might describe it. There were some very good poems written and students were keen to revisit and improve their work which is vital to the writing process. As some of the poems move from the page to the computer I will endeavour to make them available for you to look at. SPeaking of endeavour we had a few words emerge throughout the day for the students to try and discover the meaning of - endeavour being one of them, as was epiphany and non-sequitor. Challenge your child to see if they still remember what any of them mean!
After morning tea we moved onto the beginning of 'value portraits' that we are creating over the term. These will involve childrens values at the same time as exploring value as an art term. Today we looked at black and white photographs and talked about their value and contrast. The children took digital photos of themselves which we are importing onto iphoto to change to black and white. These will provide a guide for students to paint their own black and white portraits. We looked at Da Vinci's interest in proportion and practised drawing faces in correct proportion. The persistence and skill of the students' was fantastic. We moved onto chess before lunch. Beginners were introduced to the pawn, queen, king and rook today; meanwhile those with experience completed a chess pre-test (given to us by the Otago Chess Club) to determine their level. Many of them also played a game - Solomon even played all lunch time!
After lunch we thought about systems, finding examples and wondering how we might define a 'system'. We then had an impromptu philosophical discussion which investigated the question 'when should we hold someone responsible?" The level of philosophical ideas and the impressive approach to debate was outstanding. Well done Pakiki Tuesday. We finished the day with a written reflection, clean up and a very short game of speedball. A great second day Pakiki - I hope you enjoyed your learning experiences. I am looking forward to next week, when you will choose your talent groups.
Cheers, Scott. - oh - here's the day plan : ) Ciao!

Tuesday 14th February

Warm Up
What if plants grew limbs?
Mental Edge:
The Question Game
Affective Domain/Talent:
Playing with Poetry

Affective Domain/Talent
Self-portraits - proportion and value
Chess: Lesson; pre-assessment and play : )

Systems: pre-assessment
Mental Edge/Affective Domain:Philosophy -”Responsibility”
Reflection Practice

Clean Up (10 mins)



Tuesday 7th February

Kia ora everyone - here is day one from Pakiki Tuesday. Our morning involved getting to know each other and our host school. We shared a mihi whakatau with North East Valley teachers and students, as well as the one day te reo school that is also based at North East Valley Primary on Tuesday's. In the middle section of the day we worked in pairs on a technology challenge building a pataka (storehouse). They had a newspaper, 2 metres of string, 2 metres of tape scissors and 30 minutes. This is a great way to practice teamwork, problem solving and creativity and the students displayed all these features, well done. Different groups demonstrated different strengths and we rewarded efficiency, solidity, height and an overall best structure (they actually took a little longer than the time limit so in a strict sense were unfinished, but many successful person refused to let time get in the way of success so we celebrated their persistence as well as their result).
We also learnt about the Pakiki reward system - the Pakiki dollar - which will be a part of our economic systems study, later in the year. We will investigate the sharemarket and the students will earn "dollars" to simulate investment in companies listed on the stock exchange. The afternoon was mostly about profiling, practise at thinking and writing reflections and being introduced to issuu.com. This is an eportfolio site where we will store some of each student's work across the year. Families will have access to their own child's work. Here's the day plan and some photos of the students te pataka. Thanks for a great first day team!
Cheers, Mr K.

Morning = 115 min
Warm Up/Ice Breaker:
Circular introductions using duck or ball.
World’s fastest Marae Protocol lesson
Name Tag/Name Roulette
Talent: Singing waiata - E Tu Kahikatea
Mihi Whakatau
Mental Edge: Technology Challenge - Te Hanga Potaka
Middle = 90 minutes
Finish tech challenge
Talent
Overview and Profiling
Renzulli: Profiling
Mental Edge: Pre-Assessment
Chess: Lesson - and play : )
Afternoon = 75 minutes
Systems: pre-assessment
Monitoring Sheets
What is a System??!!
Brainstorm and categorise systems
Reflection Practice

Clean Up (10 mins)

Game (5 mins)
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